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  • When Is the Best Time to Travel to Ireland?

    May 3, 2013 | Blog | admin
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  • In Ireland the weather we shall always have with us. And we would not have it any other way! We like to talk about the weather. It makes a nice ice breaker over that first cup of tea or pint of stout. We like to opine on its fineness or finiteness.

    Some people are under the impression that temperate climates don’t have defined seasons but that isn’t true. It may be more subtle but each month offers variations on the beautiful landscape of Ireland. Depending on your interests or aim for traveling to Ireland any month of the year could be considered the best time to visit Ireland.

    No matter what month of the year you visit Ireland just take me at my word. Pack sturdy, waterproof footwear, a rain slicker and your favorite sweater. They will be stout companions whether your interest is in viewing our beautiful and ever-changing natural landscape, visiting cultural heritage attractions or just pounding the pavements shopping for souvenirs.

    When is the best time of the year to travel to Ireland? Having been a resident for the past decade I have to confess that I am partial to the months of April, May and September. But there is something in each of the months for visitors. It just depends on what is your main focus for traveling to Ireland.

    If airfare budgets are a consideration then flying over in low season or the late spring and early fall can be the best time to travel to Ireland. But it is important to consider your interests and the principle focus for your trip to Ireland to decide when is the best time to travel for your dream vacation to Ireland.

    Some people will be on the ancestral trail and will be anxious to find genealogy libraries open. Others will want to enjoy the beautiful Ireland countryside or surf on Atlantic breakers. Some people like ‘active relaxation’ – golf, horseback trekking, wind surfing, trail biking. Others will want to soak up the mystical atmosphere of the dolmens and megalithic sites in quiet contemplation. Some of these can be done year round while other activities are open from Easter to 31st October when some visitor activities close for the winter season.

    If you want to concentrate on visiting a specific region in Ireland then local contacts will best guide you. As I said, the weather is constantly changing and even from year to year there are variations. Which is why we have so much to talk about! We compare and contrast and remember how it was in whatever year is most relevant to the current climate.

    The beautiful Irish countryside is a major draw for many of our visitors. Each month can offer a unique gem that may the crown of your dream trip. Are you interested in birdwatching? Then you may want to be here in late April to hear the first cuckoo cry. Springtime is an explosion of flora -from the ethereal wisps of bog cotton out on the peat bogs in March, to the scores of wildflower species you can spot on the little boreens or country lanes. You can see cowslips and wild orchids as late as summer solstice in the pasture beside the Shannon Pot before the first hay is made. The bees, dragonflies and damselflies flit with the many colourful butterflies. In August multiple species of moths can be noted in my own locality in Cavan part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.

    While many of our visitors are drawn to Ireland because of the awe-inspiring natural beauty they have other interests. A warm pub with a turf fire is a convenient place to shake off any showers with a hot Irish coffee. Many pubs have evening sessions of traditional Irish music where you can listen to local musicians play rebel songs, folk tune or even what is known as Country and Irish!

    If you love Irish folk traditional music then you really need to pick a summer month because the many fleadhs and festivals as well as the music schools like the annual Joe Mooney Traditional Music Festival held in Leitrim each July.

    The All Ireland Fleadh will be held in Cavan Town in 2012 in August. Depending on which region you want to visit you can usually find a traditional music festival in June, July or August. The large festivals will allow you to see many acts but the smaller festivals with intimate pub sessions can be just as spine tingling.

    The beauty of traditional music is that, with the exception of the harp, most of the instruments are very light and highly portable! But if harp music is your passion then there is a festival celebrating the most famous of the harpers, Turlough O’Carolan in Keadue, Co. Roscommon in July.

    But outside of the busy summer months you will always be able to locate a local pub having a session at least one night a week. Just ask and locals will let you into the know!

    Here’s a brief run down of what I consider the best times to travel to Ireland for specific interests.

    January- February

    In the Celtic calendar winter is for reflection so this is a great time to take a vacation with workshops to learn a new skill or craft. 1st February is the Festival of St. Brigid so you can make your own St. Brigid’s Cross to take home as a souvenir. Visit the holy wells associated with this saint and explore sites of interest to the early Christian heritage of Ireland. The days are getting longer so short walking tours in the countryside are elating. Pack your wet weather gear and be prepared to be blown away by the beauty of snowdrops and the first signs of springtime.

    January is the month when there is a chance of snowfall in Ireland so pack accordingly.

    March – April

    March means St. Patrick’s Day and that means parades all over Ireland from the large ones in cities like Dublin and Galway to the towns like Kilkenny right down to the tractor drawn floats in many a village.

    Spring is here and nature lovers will want to get out and about noting the new flora. Migratory birds will be visiting Ireland en route to their nesting sites. Easter time finds many of the places to visit in Ireland opening to public after their winter holiday.

    June – July-August

    We are spoiled for choice. Summertime is hectic in Ireland. We have traditional folk music festivals or fleadhs, summer agricultural shows, plowing matches, and many other events of special interest. All the tourist attractions are open to the public.

    September – October

    The combination of showers and exquisite equinox light makes September one of the best times to chase rainbows in Ireland.

    Halloween is another time that might be considered as the best time to visit Ireland. In the old Celtic tradition Halloween, or Samhain (say it sow – like the pig- in) was the New Year. It is particularly dark at this time of year and is considered to be the point when the veil between our world and the Other world – where spirits, fairies, pooka dwell- is at its most thin and porous. So this would be the best time to visit Ireland if you want to indulge in ghost busting or fairy hunting.

    November – December

    This is the quietest time tourist wise. For the independent traveler who relishes seeing the quotidian round this will be the best time to visit Ireland. Hoar frost sparkles. The beaches will only be inhabited by locals and their dogs. The die-hard surfers will still be chasing a wave on milder days. There can be days of heavy rain or brilliantly clear sunshine. But day light is short. The evenings will still offer theater and music events for entertainment in both the cities and the county towns. Many regional theaters specialize in up and coming acts so spot the next trend.

    Bee Smith created Irish Blessings Tours to serve travellers to Ireland who want the unique and inspirational packaged for their group’s desires and needs. Bee seeks the source to manifest your dream Irish vacation according to your budget and time scale. She has a special interest in Fairy folklore, Celtic Spirituality and the Natural Heritage of western Ireland and Northern Ireland. In 2011 Bee became one of the first trained tour guides that act at ambassadors for the UNESCO designated Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.